Since the launch of the first blockchain more than a decade ago, the technology has been co-opted for a huge range of purposes and is now widely described as a game-changer for dozens of industries, ranging from finance, to healthcare and even charity.
The new technology is also leading a paradigm shift in the world of online marketing, with an increasing number of blockchain-enabled tools and marketing agencies now available to help businesses break down marketing barriers and drastically improve their conversion and return on advertising spend, while potentially eliminating ad fraud.
If you’re wondering what blockchain could mean for marketing in 2020, you’re about to find out.
Blockchain Marketing Trends, Techniques and Best Practices
Before diving in to what blockchain could mean for marketing and how the technology is currently being used in the digital marketing space, let’s briefly review what blockchain is, and where the technology first appeared.
Briefly, blockchain is a type of decentralized ledger that is used to store information arranged as a series of blocks. The operations used to save transaction information on these blocks are spread out over a large number of computers, which work together to identify and confirm new transactions and ensure the integrity of the blockchain.
Since the first blockchain went live in 2009 with the release of Bitcoin, the number and variety of different blockchains has skyrocketed. There are now hundreds of blockchains in operation, many of which target a particular use case, while some act as platforms which can be used for a wide variety of purposes.
Although there are now a huge number of different blockchains available, almost all of these use a similar system to ensure that the data stored on the blockchain is accurate and redundant. The data stored on the blockchain is maintained and verified by nodes and/or miners, which work together to add new data (transactions) to the blockchain and protect previously stored data from any threats—all in a completely secure and traceable way.
What is Blockchain Marketing?
The definition of blockchain marketing is a rather broad one and can refer to one of two things. The first is the practice of marketing blockchain companies and products, usually through internet marketing, including social media marketing, search engine marketing, content marketing and more.
The second definition of blockchain marketing refers to the blockchain-based tools, services and platforms that are available to assist with marketing in general. These can offer wide-ranging benefits, potentially allowing brands to directly reach consumers without having to go through several layers of intermediaries, while increasing the efficiency, transparency and cost-effectiveness of marketing efforts.
Although blockchain technology can’t be used to solve every issue in marketing, distributed ledgers and the benefits they bring lend themselves nicely to a huge number of marketing applications, and many agencies and blockchain firms now utilize blockchain applications as part of their blockchain marketing workflow.
Blockchain Marketing Agencies
As with any industry, the blockchain industry has its own set of marketing and PR agencies, many of which are specialized towards specific types of marketing, such as influencer marketing, affiliate marketing and social media marketing.
When it comes to marketing blockchain companies, marketing agencies tend to base their strategy on the maturity of the client firm. As such, depending on whether the company is in its seed stages, if it’s a startup, scale up, established business or even an international megacorporation, the strategies used as part of the marketing process would change.
Oftentimes, blockchain companies looking for a blockchain marketing agency to work with can be completely befuddled by the huge range of options available. Nowadays, there’s at least a dozen blockchain marketing agencies for each type of marketing strategy, and even more that offer services across multiple strategies.
Choosing a blockchain marketing agency is usually a challenging task, since there are now more than 100 different agencies in operation, many of which claim to offer something unique or promising results that nobody else can match. However, this variety also gives blockchain companies the flexibility to choose from a large pool of suitable blockchain marketing agencies, to find the one that best suits their needs or has the experience needed to execute a complex blockchain marketing strategy in the niche they operate in.
One of the ways blockchain firms overcome this choice overload is to clearly define their goals and restrict their search to marketing agencies that have proven experience in helping other clients achieve similar goals. These can be identified by looking at firms that have helped similar companies succeed or that have worked with notable clients in the same niche.
Likewise, blockchain marketing agencies often post updates regarding their recent successes, achievements and areas of expertise, making it simple tasks for prospectors to find agencies with the right tools for the job. With that said, most blockchain marketing agencies focus their efforts on particular regions, including North America, Europe or Asia, so it is important that blockchain companies identify their target audience and regions before finalizing an arrangement with a marketing firm.
Blockchain in the Marketing Sector
The use of blockchain technology in digital marketing has become increasingly common in recent years, as dozens of tools and platforms have cropped up to help both blockchain and traditional companies make an impact.
Some of these companies are also working to reshape the relationship between the brands and their target audience by making advertising a mutually beneficial arrangement. One example of this is Brave, a popular new internet browser that features a built-in marketing tool that rewards users for their attention by showing privacy-respecting advertisements. These rewards are paid in a digital currency known as Basic Attention Token (BAT), which can be traded on dozens of exchanges.
Meanwhile, Medium, Steemit and Publish0x have emerged as popular platforms for blockchain companies looking to build an audience, since these three platforms allow individuals, businesses and organizations to blog and share news without relying on traditional media outlets.
Individuals looking for blockchain marketing jobs can also turn to these platforms, since they allow users to earn money by publishing high-quality content that obtains a large number of views or positive engagements. Likewise, an increasing number of influencers are beginning to crop up on these platforms, which can be leveraged by companies looking to reach a large number of readers without having to build up their own following.
Telegram has also rapidly gained traction as a communication tool used by blockchain companies. Nowadays, practically every major company that operates or previously completed a token sale of some form has used Telegram to manage their community, provide customer support, and market their products and services.
Although many many tools simply exist to help blockchain companies reach their target audience, others are built directly on top of a blockchain and enable new types of marketing that were simply not possible just a few years ago. One of these is Hygh (pronounced “high”), a platform that uses blockchain technology to improve the accessibility and flexibility of outdoor display advertising, reducing the costs of advertising on outdoor screens while providing a potential additional revenue stream for store owners.
The use of blockchain technology in digital marketing also opens up possibilities for firms that perform paid advertising, like pay per click (PPC) or influencer marketing, by unlocking additional insights about their target demographics, while helping to better track the return on advertising spend. 2key is one of the many blockchain technology applications that can assist with this, by using blockchain technology to turn standard links into smartlinks, which provide advertisers with more information about their conversions and enabling highly rewarding referral campaigns.
Blockchain Marketing Best Practices
The vast majority of blockchain companies have been propositioned by contractors or agencies that promise the world, but have little to no experience in delivering results or hitting KPIs. These so-called “experts” will often reach out over LinkedIn, Telegram or Twitter by DM, offering their services at a fraction of the cost of the competition. While some of these may be genuine, most are not and it is important to check their credentials since scams are unfortunately rife in the blockchain marketing industry.
However, after establishing whether to handle marketing in-house or outsource it to an agency, it is important to set a realistic budget and define clear objectives for the entire marketing strategy. Is the firm looking to build social media engagement and promote brand awareness, or is it trying to maximize conversion and get a direct response from the reader? By setting clear goals and an appropriate budget, it is then possible to determine realistic key performance metrics for the marketing strategy.
Although it can be tempting to focus solely on the cost of the marketing program, it is more useful to focus on important metrics that depend on your goals. For example, focusing on the customer acquisition cost (CAC) and the CAC Payback Period (time taken recoup initial acquisition costs) offer far more insight than simply recording the budget of the campaign.
For blockchain companies not focusing on direct response marketing, it usually helps to determine specific goals and the timeline they should be met within. Targeting the right audience and striking the right balance between cost and efficacy can help achieve goals on time, while leveraging the latest tools and trends can boost results dramatically.
Trends in Blockchain Marketing
As a fast moving industry, it can sometimes be a struggle to keep up with the latest trends and opportunities that the blockchain industry presents. Nonetheless, some of the current marketing trends include thought leadership, brand storytelling and establishing a social media marketing funnel.
Thought leadership is a type of content marketing that allows projects to demonstrate technical expertise and experience, helping to establish authority in a market and build brand awareness—all without directly marketing the brands or its products. For example, an executive of a cryptocurrency wallet or mining platform might discuss the unique challenges in their industry, while providing helpful insights and tips drawn from personal experience.
On the other hand, brand storytelling has emerged as a popular way of appealing to the emotions of readers by producing authentic brand stories that resonate with the target demographic. A well-crafted brand story has the potential to forge a lasting relationship with customers and inspire readers with meaningful content. Blockchain marketing examples might include describing how an executive overcame adversity to build a brand, or how a blockchain platform was built to empower underdogs.
Establishing a social media marketing funnel is a more challenging, but frequently more rewarding marketing method in the blockchain space, since it requires setting up multiple layers of content for potential customers to engage with—beginning with introductory content and ending with content that converts. However, once set up, these can often run on autopilot and often need very little adjustment over time.
Although it is often possible for blockchain businesses to do their own marketing in-house, it is often a good idea to enlist the expertise of a blockchain marketing expert or marketing agency to form and execute a robust marketing strategy, since the industry is rapidly developing, and keeping pace is certainly not a part time job.